Jake, the Backstage Dog

Classic Arts Features   Jake, the Backstage Dog
A salute to a much-loved member of Lincoln Center's backstage crew.

Did you know that Lincoln Center has its own canine mascot in Avery Fisher Hall? Jake Joseph, an "Italian" black-haired, silver muzzled, 28-pound terrier mix, has greeted New York Philharmonic musicians, conductors, soloists, and just about everyone else who comes into Avery Fisher Hall for almost ten years. Jake is there wagging his tail for all who step off the elevator on the second floor stage level. In fact, he's made quite a reputation for himself over the years. The New York Philharmonic used him in an educational documentary video it distributes to schools, and he's so well-behaved that during the 1990s, Maestro Kurt Masur would often invite Jake onstage during orchestra rehearsals to sit near the first violins. He's even charmed some outside licensees. After a production meeting of the U.S. Army Band, Jake received a bowl of doggy treats in gratitude.

Jake's owner, Rich Norton, stagehand Crew Chief at Avery Fisher Hall for more than 20 years, found him in Rhode Island when he stopped at a road sign that said "free puppies" and couldn't resist. Jake came to work with Rich at Avery Fisher Hall and has been there ever since. A book entitled Adventures of Jake, the Backstage Dog by Karen Lefrak is scheduled to hit bookstore shelves in the fall of 2006.

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